Cronavirus: School assemblies and excursions banned in ACT

All school assemblies, excursions and sports carnivals will be cancelled across ACT schools from Monday in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

While schools across Canberra will otherwise operate as normal on Monday, the cancellations imposed from the ACT Education Directorate will apply to any other gathering at the school of more than 500 people.

This extends to parent/teacher nights as well as school open days, sporting events, music concerts and school camps.

All school camps that were set to start from Monday will be postponed or cancelled.

"The safety of staff, children and young people is the paramount concern of the ACT government," a directorate spokesman said.

"While we realise there will be some disruption as a result of this precautionary decision, we believe it is the best course of action to ensure the safety of not only our school communities, but the Canberra community as a whole."

The measures in the ACT comes as similar measures were rolled out in NSW public schools.

The NSW ban, in effect from Monday, also included whole school sporting events and inter-school events involving three or more schools.

The ACT had previously announced a ban on international excursions until the end of term two due to coronavirus.

"Further advice will be forthcoming. A decision regarding overseas school excursions in terms three and four will be made at the end of term one," the directorate spokesman said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there were no plans to lock down schools, universities or public transport despite them frequently having more than 500 people.

"[Closing schools] could make the situation worse, not better," he said.

He said the international medical advice was that it was counterintuitive to close schools as it meant children were in increased contact with members of the broader community.

As of Sunday, there was still just one confirmed case of coronavirus in the ACT.

More than 1000 people have tested negative for COVID-19 in Canberra.

A ban on mass gatherings of more than 500 people has seen mass cancellations of sports matches as well as music concerts, festivals and arts performances.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said special state powers would be enacted to enforce the bans.

Anyone who does not comply with the ban on mass gatherings in NSW could face up to six months in jail or a fine of $11,000.

"I urge the community to do the right thing and obey the decisions and advice of the national and NSW chief medical officers," Mr Hazzard said.

The ACT has not yet outlined its legislative response.

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This story ACT bans school assemblies, excursions due to coronavirus first appeared on The Canberra Times.